Bethesda News

For the Future: Our Community Center

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Planning for a Better Future

Our Community Center seeks to prepare youth for a better future. We develop students physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by offering engaging clubs (Arts, Science, Sports, etc.), professional development and training opportunities, a safe place to learn, field trips, and, of course, food.

One of our main priorities is to increase our attendees’ effective usage of the seven C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Character, Care, and Confidence. Our programs are tailored to help youth improve in these areas, which encompass the necessary skills to thrive. Through this process, our students are rounded into capable teens who are ready to pursue and achieve their future endeavors.

While developing these skills, we also build meaningful relationships and share the love of Jesus. The mentorships formed provide the youth with additional support as they face various challenges. They come to know that there is always a place they can go when they are in need. As we share the gospel, students begin to realize how different we are from a world that constantly puts them down and tells them they aren’t good enough. We can care deeply for them because Christ first loved us, and they can realize that same level of care in their families and communities.

As kids engage in activities, develop in the seven C’s, become mentees, and learn about God, they are holistically prepared for the future that God has planned for them.

The Stories of Shania and Haneef

Shania and Haneef are two teens who have tremendously grown since they started coming to our Community Center programs.

Shania began attending our programs during the winter of 2021. From the beginning, she held a high level of influence, being able to change the atmosphere of the room for better or worse. During her first few months, she would often argue with our Inspire coordinator, Michael Green, and ignore his directions.

Over time, though, this began to change. Shania began to recognize that Michael was a positive resource and role model. As they became closer through a sense of mutual respect and understanding, her behavior improved.

Shania was challenged to change her selfish thinking through team activities, such as a recreation of “Minute to Win It.” As a result, she began to care about and collaborate with others. She also developed critical thinking skills. She found her role as a leader, one that enables her to be a positive influence on others.

Shania has learned that her desire to win at all costs can excel when she humbly applies the seven C’s of success to her everyday life. She has always been willing to communicate, but through our program, she has elevated her understanding of how to properly convey her thoughts to others in a meaningful and effective way.

In contrast, Haneef was relatively quiet and always evaluated situations before engaging. He had difficulty trusting others in the beginning and came across as standoffish.

Over the past four years, Haneef has grown significantly. By being open during sharing times and in conversations, he has realized that our staff can be trusted to help him when he feels vulnerable. While he was having issues in his previous classroom environments, he has become fully engaged in our Reach programs.

Haneef has also become more confident. He now initiates conversations and reaches out to see how he can serve. He collaborates with his classmates and takes the lead in different activities and games, such as telephone charades and dodgeball.

He has demonstrated critical thinking skills and creativity through many projects. When Reach program students were challenged to write some lyrics and create a vision board, he found ways to encourage others to share by making them feel comfortable. He has also entered our workforce development program, focusing on Christian youth leadership and maintenance.

Both Shania and Haneef accepted Christ as their Savior during our last retreat at Camp Hebron, and they have been attending our H2O Teen Bible study every week. Through relational mentorships formed with our Community Center’s program coordinators, different activities and opportunities, and God’s grace, they were positively transformed. Each overcame challenges and grew into individuals ready to lead and take on the world.

Help Harrisburg Youth Succeed

While the stories above are those of individuals, they are not wholly unique. Many kids in our programs face similar struggles. For those kids, we bring hope and access to opportunities, so that they might grow into men and women who love God and are capable of navigating and overcoming the day-to-day challenges of the world.

We are looking to expand our transformative programs to offer these opportunities to more youth and families through Community Center Phase II. You can learn more about this project on our website at

Help us work for a better future. You can support this important project in three major ways:

  1. Please pray for wisdom and safety for those demolishing the original structure and building the new one.
  2. Share information about this project with others. As more people know about it, they too can pray for and support us.
  3. Consider financially supporting this project. You can donate through our website at If you would like to contribute through a bequest, stock or estate gifts, a multi-year commitment, or another way in which you feel comfortable, please contact Cindy Mallow at (717) 257-4442 ext. 233 or at

Thank you for your support!

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